This is Bartimaeus' favourite dish, and the recipe is here as requested by the Monkey. I make it two ways - of late I've been doing it this way which is quicker, and I actually think, tastier than the long-winded recipe I used to use (where you coat the paneer cubes in a mix of ginger, garlic, egg and cornflour, fry, set aside and then add to the veg at the end). This is actually crispier (the egg coating actually slides off the cubes when you re-add them to the pan, leaving them soggy and without flavour). Some versions call for vinegar and tomato ketchup - they also make the dish soggy, and they just overpower all the zinginess of the chillies and ginger so I have always left them out.
This is a dish from a curious cuisine known as Indo-Chinese (I'll post up my recipe for non-deep fried "vegetable Manchurian" another day) which is basically an Indian take on Chinese food. That said, there is a distinct Indian-Chinese cuisine that developed in Calcutta as a result of Chinese migrant workers who lived there, as I found out from attending a presentation by a fascinating anthropology project - but I don't really know if this authentic Indian-Chinese fusion food bears any resemblance to its wildly popular Indian counterpart. There's also Chinese cuisines that use chilli and spices that are more reminiscent of India - basically, there's a lot of crossover going on!
1 red onion, sliced
1.5 tbsp minced ginger paste (I grate frozen ginger, it's much easier to work with)
1.5tbsp minced garlic
400g paneer block cut into cubes (I love chopping up paneer, it's so satisfying)
1 fat red chilli and 1 fat green chilli, sliced into rings (deseeded if they're too spicy for you - have a nibble at one to check!)
1/2 green pepper and 1/2 red pepper, sliced
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
5 spring onions, chopped
handful chopped fresh coriander
1. Add 3tbsp of sunflower or vegetable oil to your wok and heat until quite hot.
2. Add cubed paneer and fry untill golden brown on all sides and crispy.
3. Turn heat down to medium.
4. Add sliced red onions to the pan and fry briskly until a bit softened. Then add 1tbsp of each of the ginger and garlic, and the chillies, and mix thoroughly and fry off for a couple of minutes.
5. Add sliced peppers and turn up heat, frying them briskly. Add the remaining ginger and garlic. Add soy sauce so it sizzles, and then salt to taste. Allow peppers to char a bit. There should be a nice dark brown glaze by now, if not, add a bit more soy sauce.
6. Toss in spring onions and coriander, stir through, and take off the heat.
Recently, I've been serving this with spiced noodles, but I actually also really like this served with plain basmati rice - the cleanness of the rice and the savouryness of the paneer is just lovely. The proper Indo way would be to eat this alongside a couple of other dishes (like the above veg Manchurian) with a stack of fried puffed breads called puris.